Last Updated on 4 months by Riaz Hassan
The Permanent Secretary and Deputy Secretary Public Health is responsible for formulation of strategic public, primary health policies and oversees the implementation of public health programmes as legislated under the Public Health Act 2002. Effective primary health care services are delivered through Sub Divisional Hospitals and national programs explored below.
The Wellness Unit was established in February 2012 by the merging of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) control unit and the National Centre for Health Promotion (NCHP).
Wellness unit is now rebranded “Wellness Fiji – harvest the wellness within you“.
All Fijians from conception to senior citizens have the potential to harvest wellness, as they sail throughout lifespan in settings.
The strategic objective for Wellness and NCD is to reduce premature deaths (deaths aged less than 60 years) due to non-communicable diseases.
Recent Achievements for Wellness
- Completion of the review of Public Health Act.
- Establishment of the Wellness Framework and initiation of National Wellness Policy.
- Review of National NCD Strategic Plan 2010-2014.
- Development of National Strategic Plan 2015-2019 and Community Health Worker Policy.
- Declaration of Fiji National University as No Tobacco University.
- Launch of first Wellness bus for Fiji Public Health Community Outreach.
- Development of the Wellness Competency Manual for Community Health Worker Training and the Wellness Manual for all Public Health Community workers by FHSSP.
- Establishment of WHO PEN model for multidisciplinary approach to blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol to SOPD/HUBs in Fiji.
- Diabetes Foot Care project commenced in collaboration with WDF.
The family health programs key aims are to manage, implement, monitor and evaluate programs
pertaining to Child Health, Maternal Health, HIV/STI’s, Reproductive Health and Gender.
Child Health began in 2013 with the launch of its Child Health Policy and Strategic Plan 2012-2015 during the Immunisation week. The launch incorporated the Launch of the Immunisation week to strengthen Immunisation around Fiji with defaulter tracing.
Some key achievements for Family health have been;
- Rolling out the Neonatal Resuscitation Programme (NRP) trainings in the divisions with Central finishing in 2013 with the other two divisions underway in 2014.
- Conducting an Immunisation Coverage Survey. The coverage has shown success in regards to the Immunisation program in Fiji at a coverage rate of 91.4% with card though with card and parent confirmation at 94.8%.
- Development of the following guidelines and manual developed under Child Health Program;
- The Child Protection Guideline
- Vaccine Storage Guidelines: Keeping it Cold 2013-2016
- Fiji National Immunisation Policy and Procedure Manual 2013-2016
Maternal Health has had its challenges and is in need of improvement. It remains a key strategic focus for the Ministry of Health moving forward. Some recent achievements include;
- Development of the first ever maternal health strategic plan for Fiji. This was facilitated by a consultant supported by FHSSP along with a review of the program. This strategic plan has contributed towards a more strategic direction for maternal and child health care for Fiji in line with International Goals (Millennium Development Goals) and Local Targets of maternal and child health.
- All Health Centres and Nursing Stations were provided with delivery packs to ensure that if a delivery was to happen in these sites there was basic necessary equipment’s available for these centres. Sub-Divisional Hospitals were also equipped with more equipment made available in partneship with UNDFP and FHSSP as part of Safe Motherhood in Fiji.
- Clinical Practice Guidelines for maternal health has been finalised.
- The first combined meeting with Obstetrics and Maternity to ensure a collaborative effort to reduce the maternal and child mortality rates in Fiji. This meeting ensured that paediatrics registrar’s were a part of the morning rounds for maternity and there were more collaborative efforts to tackle perinatal mortality.
- Fiji has been in the process of developing a training manual for reproductive health under family planning, with an action plan to ensure the skill set, necessary equipment, improved data collation and communications were available for all to facilitate the increase in uptake of contraception where necessary.
- Training of 824 health care workers around Fiji in a Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness Plan and Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care.
Expanded Food Voucher Program: (Ministry of Women Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation & MOH)
The Expanded Food Voucher Programme is a collaborative work with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Women and Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation where all pregnant women in a rural setting are assisted with Cash Food Vouchers for the first three confinements. The only exception to this programme is where they are either a civil servant or already under a scheme of the Social Welfare department.
The expanded food voucher program is expected to ensure that women receive money for their nutritional support and ensure that all women book early at a health facility.
After consultation with a gender consultant and in line with the resulting Gender Report, the Gender working group was formed and developed the action plan for the Ministry of Health, an important component of the Gender Action Plan was the development of the Gender Training manual for the Ministry to carry out trainings for the Senior Managers, Divisional Teams for both the Public Health Sector inclusive of the Hospital Departments.
Recent achievements for Sexual Health Program were:
Policy and Guidelines Development:
- Prevention of Parents to Child Transmission of HIV Policy 2013-2016
- TB/HIV Collaborative Policy
- HIV Testing Strategy in Fiji
- HIV Care and Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines
- HIV Testing and Counselling Policy
- Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission of HIV which occurred in three divisions: Central, Western and Northern. The training encompassed all components of PPTCT from Basic background to treatment to Monitoring and evaluation.
- HIV Prescribers training. This has been the third year of running the training which has become an important training for the dissemination of Basic HIV information to medical personals to identify HIV in the country.
- Voluntary Counselling and Confidential Testing (VCCT). HIV Counsellors were trained to ensure that all HIV testing was happening in line with the HIV Decree.
- Sub-Divisional Training on STI Syndromic. This training factored in more health care workers trained in the area of STI and syndromic reporting.
Apart from the policies and trainings done at National Level, there were a significant number of outreach programs which took place in the three divisions. These outreach programs encompass educational HIV/STI sessions and Voluntary Counselling and Testing, from these counselling and testing a number of positive cases has been identified from the various divisions, though majority of the cases have been from the Central and Western Division.
The overall objective of the program is to improve adolescent health and reduce adolescent morbidity and mortality through the promotion and advocacy of planning services through a Peer Education program.
The Peer Educator coordinates, implements, strengthens, monitors and sustains youth friendly services for adolescent’s development through delivery of integrated Sexual and Reproductive Health programs and initiatives at their various subdivisions.
Various awareness activities targeting gatekeepers especially community leaders have helped to create a supportive enabling environment. In the early years of the AHD Project a number of outreach initiatives through both in-school and community-based approaches allowed young people to gain basic knowledge on adolescent issues through awareness, information and education.
Additionally the program has expanded its capacity with regards to the skills of its project officers (Peer Educators).
These activities include:
- Conducting health awareness during disease outbreaks (dengue, typhoid).
- Providing basic information and support for mental health related issues and activities.
- Providing basic information on the HIV Decree.
- Conducting VCCT during outreach or basic HIV information at ANC clinics.